KANSAS CITY – The United States is taking a leadership role in discussions on how the world can best achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the in-person and virtual participants of the Ag Outlook Forum hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., and held September 20 in Kansas City.
Mr Vilsack had recently returned from Florence, Italy, after attending a three-day summit, September 16-18, where agriculture ministers from G20 countries met.
Mr. Vilsack said it was important for the United States to attend these sessions to prepare for major global gatherings that will directly impact the direction of agriculture around the world.
He referred to the United Nations Food Systems Summit, which was held on September 23 at the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will be held from 1 through November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Mr Vilsack said at these meetings, world leaders will discuss climate change, including its impacts on agriculture with a view to determining what actions can be taken to address these impacts both in terms of adaptation. and mitigation, and how it might be. structured to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture to net zero.
“It was important for us to be in Florence because our European friends have a new common agricultural policy, which they call Farm to Fork,” Vilsack explained. “EU countries are now implementing this common agricultural policy. The policy is focused on the transition, the transformation in a meaningful way, the way they provide subsidies and help farmers across the European Union in exchange for good environmental practices.
“We wanted to make sure the world understood that there is consensus on the ultimate goal of achieving net zero emissions agriculture by 2050. But there are many and different ways to achieve this goal. The United States has chosen a path. We believe that a voluntary, market-based, incentive-based system will be effective and lead us to the same destination. It was important for us to express this alternative.
Mr Vilsack said he had held useful bilateral discussions with a number of agriculture ministers while in Florence on the beginnings of a coalition of nations that believe, like the United States, that approaches climate change volunteers, incentives and scientists will eventually lead nations towards the goal of net zero emissions.
He said he had a good conversation with the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture.
“I think we both understand and appreciate that we cannot let our European friends dominate the discussion and suggest that there is only one way to achieve this,” said Mr Vilsack.
“We also wanted to make sure that people understand and appreciate that whatever systems are used to achieve this goal, they should not be used as a barrier to trade,” Vilsack said. “The openness and transparency of trade must continue. “
Mr. Vilsack said the United States looks forward to increasing the number of countries that have signed up to the Agriculture Climate Innovation Mission, which he says will be brought forward at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change. food systems and will be officially launched at COP26.
Mr Vilsack said the initiative aims to accelerate global agricultural innovation through increased investment in research and development, leading to innovative science-based solutions to help agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change.